Ruined for Marriage, part 2

Part one was actually about Ookami-San and Seven Nakama-tachi (No Equivalent English Word), although this post is really a sequel to the last Mirai Nikki post a couple days ago. Anyway, I started writing a response to Lolikitsune after my last post on the “horrible plot device,” but it went long (I wish I had a link to point you to the source of that little chestnut because it deserves to be shared. I digress).

So… is Mirai Nikki “good?” Maybe? I’m having a hard time with that question. It’s pretty fun, because it’s about crazy people, and that is entertaining. Yuno and Yukiteru could be read as a metaphor/representation of co-dependency in a relationship.

Also there is kissing and hand-holding and other ever-so-slightly-less-chaste-than-standard-anime stuff happening.

 

But there is also the moment pictured that last post, in which I start to feel like “hey… kinda feels like SVS is right in this case?” I don’t know.

Yuno’s rape threat didn’t feel integral, and while it wasn’t especially titillating in the strictly sexual sense either, it did feel like fanservice (GIF, thanks interwebs…) to the ultraviolent crowd who are probably enjoying all the blood that flies around in this “mature” anime. Sexually charged violence is that “this stuff’s not for kids / no really except it is” aspect of anime that was huge in the 90s and continues to crop up occasionally in shows like this.

Invariably, the prospect of the victim becoming “damaged goods” is on the table when rape is involved (Sixth even says it), and if you remember (you don’t) I praised Ookami-San for its relatively mature handling of that — The horrors of Ryoko’s past shouldn’t be held against her and continue to make her life horrible, ruled the protagonist, and for that simple resolution he became Insert-kun of the year.

How would Yukiteru treat such an outcome? If, for some reason, Yuno stopped being murderous and scary, yet had succumbed to Sixth’s misguided-revenge-gang-rape, would he have her? On the surface, the plot thread was about Yukiteru making things even between them: she saved his life, he saves hers finally. But there is something in the subtext that says that nothing is in fact “even”— it’s not possible. Saving someone from death is an adventure; saving someone from gang-rape is a true feat of manly protection, a trick that only a man can do for a woman (not true of course, but one gets this impression). It’s also a feat that the woman, now forever subservient thanks to her susceptibility to penetration, can never repay. Even the proximity of rape, especially one so brutal and calculated, is enough to turn Yuno — a previously very strong, if not really independent, woman — into a bit more of an empty sack over which Insert-kun has power.

In a way it’s the best, because all the victimization and naked flesh is there, but the damage (in most senses, but most importantly, the hymen) is not. No harm, no foul, right?

Once again, I’m horrible at coming to conclusions. And I didn’t even go into Sixth’s story. So… I’ll leave it at that.

Fuck these (2) Comments.

  1. OGT says:

    I haven’t been watching the anime, but I did read the first four volumes of the manga (and found them pretty mediocre, although I do agree that Yuno is a fairly complex, if screwed the hell up, character), and that scene sort of unnerved me. It was presented as a THIS SHIT’S REAL moment, but this being Future Diary we already had about 80 billion other THIS SHIT’S REAL moments, so we didn’t really need a voyeuristic pseudo-rape scene to tell us this. Plus the whole thing was done entirely to get Yukiteru to react so it’s basically a straightforward instance of fridging–threaten sexualized violence against the lady to get the man to be a hero. You get cheesecake AND you get to eat it.

    And that’s laying aside the fact that rape is a terrible plot device. The last time I’ve seen it crop up, when I watched the disappointing Now and Then, Here and There, it felt like it was used as a prurient attempt to buy sympathy for Sara, and then it turned into a device to make weird anti-abortion arguments (“DON’T BLAME THE BABY FOR YOUR GETTING SYSTEMATICALLY RAPED”) and later to show how awesomely forgiving and Sagely Maternal and Caring Sara became at the end (including a terrible terrible scene where she implicitly forgives one of her former rapists). I guess it gets a couple of points for at least attempting to deal with rape seriously (rather than as OMG LOOK HOW BRUTAL THIS PLACE IS which is what it first looked like), but then I take away those points for taking it seriously in the most horrible way possible.

  2. otou-san says:

    Yeah I’m pretty much 100% with you in your first paragraph. It’s definitely the same “this shit’s not for kids” angle as a lot of violent anime — it all depends on whether you like your fanservice with striped panties, robot transformations, or blood. It really does have a lot of THIS SHIT’S REAL moments, but there’s probably a school of thought that in the “moe age” or whatever, you have to really accentuate the Kawajiri-esque spatters.

    I don’t think rape is unequivocally a bad plot device, although it is one that people will talk about above all others so you have to be ready for that or, possibly, intend on that. Straw Dogs comes to mind, or yes… Now and Then, Here and There.

    I found that to be much less to my distaste though, NATHAT (har) felt like it had a more sympathetic eye, and rather than titillating or puffing up the viewer, that anime seemed intent on punishing the viewer above all other things. I mean, rape is just one part of a package that includes torture, child conscription, etc etc and it all seemed to me like a legit loss-of-innocence theme just ratcheted up to anime-worthy levels of hardcore melodrama. I don’t remember the weird anti-abortion arguments though and I don’t pretend to justify or even understand that part, as for the forgiveness I kinda felt like that was just her way of nullifying a cycle of violence-begets-violence more than anything else.

    This is why I didn’t really agree with SVS on his first mistaken utterance of the phrase — he meant a certain thing, and he said all things. You seem to think all things. Or maybe you just mean in anime?